03 February 2017

#FalconsFriday #RiseUp #NerdNation @AtlantaFalcons @NFL @Stanford @GoStanford #SB51 #Smunday

In honor of the hometown (and home state) team making it the Super Bowl this year, Georgia Govenor Nathan Deal has proclaimed today Falcons Friday. Yeehaw! Everyone is being encouraged to wear Red and Black (the Atlanta Falcons team colors) and to Rise Up --- the slogan for cheering the team onto victory. (We're hopeful --- and we're partying, regardless.) There have been numerous Falcons pep rallies and parties all week long at various venues around the city and today is expected to bring more opportunities to cash in for supporting businesses and enterprising individuals alike. Time to make merry with a state-sanctioned blessing. (Football is big business, after all.)

I'm a football fan, but lately I'm more into college football than NFL football. (The NFL seems to have become a league of very public spoiled brats --- and I don't mean only the players --- and it has dampened my enthusiasm. I am also concerned for player health & safety in light of all the current data on concussions and other potential repetitive injury. It is a violent sport.) I still love the game, but nowadays watch it eyes opened. As a Georgia native, I am a (default) Falcons fan without being rabid about it. I hope that the team does well each season, but I may not watch. (I do check sports scores on Monday though.) I only loosely followed the current NFL season, but was happy for the Falcons when the team gelled and performed so well throughout.

I've known quite a few football players (past and present) at all levels of the game, including a few who made it to the pros and some who've gone into coaching or other tangents of the game, so I have some inkling of the ethos, the camaraderie, and the dedication relating to the sport. (As an amateur athlete who participates in several sports and enjoys more still, I definitely get it.) I am excited for the players who've reached the pinnacle of their sport. (And for the team personnel who've worked behind the scenes to build and support the franchise.) It is a rarified feat, win or lose. Congratulations, Atlanta Falcons! Y'all earned this. Relish the moment.

I'm also excited for the Falcons faithful, the long-time fans who've supported the team through thin and thinner. (In the 51 year history of the team, this is only the second trip to the Super Bowl. The one other instance came during the 1998 season when the Falcons lost to the Denver Broncos. I watched.) These are the people who attended games and cheered from home year in and year out when the team was down in the proverbial dumps. It has been fun to witness the sheer giddiness of hardcore Falcons fans as they watch their team gear up for the Super Bowl. People have been going batty, with often comical results.

And I will also give allowance to the casual fans (myself included) and even some bit of leeway to the Johnny-come-lately fans who showed up yesterday, because it has been nearly impossible to remain unaffected by Falcons Fever living in the metro Atlanta area, at least. (Can't speak for the rest of the state, but the metro area is in the throes of a Red and Black wave with people, pets, homes, cars, businesses and lampposts decked out in banners, pins and other assorted paraphernalia.) It's quicker to note the passing cars without Falcons Flags flying than to count the opposite number.

Thus, the unofficial holiday on the Friday before the Super Bowl was to be expected with or without the governor's proclamation. Naming it Falcons Friday merely added kindling to a raging fire. The city of Atlanta is bonkers for all things Falcons right now. No one is immune. Falcons Fever might strike without a moment's notice. I wouldn't be surprised one bit if some folks took personal time off or ahem, called in sick today, in addition to the coming Smunday (Heinz corp created a petition to make the Monday after the Super Bowl a national holiday, and started things off by stating it was giving all of its employees the day off. Promotional tie-ins expected.)

I am very excited for Super Bowl LI (SB51), especially because my "twin" is a Pats fan and the upcoming Atlanta vs New England gridiron face-off gives us more about which to yak. I am, however, at somewhat of a loss in my ability to display Falcons pride on their day, today. You see, I don't have any Falcons gear readily at hand. It's not that I didn't try. I had an Atlanta Falcons banner in my possession --- acquired prior to the season start --- but it was recently swiped by one of my sisters to display at a party, presumably in her office downtown. Thieving city employees! (Sorry sis, I couldn't resist with the local news full of a bribery scandal engulfing City Hall.)
Here's some Red Cardinal and Black for ya!
When I grumbled good-naturedly at this re-appropriation, I was told as I work from home, no-one would see it in my office except for me and the pup, and that the point of a banner is public display. How can you argue with such logic? Finding myself fresh out of Falcons Red and Black but wanting to be a part of the action (albeit virtually), I, a left-out lowly telecommuter, have devised a stand-in using the collegiate colors of my alma mater. I do hope that Cardinal and Black will suffice. Considering that several Stanford Football players --- shout out Nerd Nation --- have gone on to play prominently for the Falcons over the years, with several on the current roster, it seemed somehow appropriate. Rise Up!

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